Report on Abuses in Munich: Benedict XVI Corrects Statement

He Took Part in a Meeting about a Priest Accused of Abuses, but His Pastoral Work Wasn’t Mentioned

Benedict XVI Statement
Report on abuses in Munich © Vatican Media

Benedict XVI corrected his statement in the recent Report on the handling of abuses in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.

In a statement published by the KNA German News Agency, made by his Secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, and reported by “Vatican News,” the Pope Emeritus said, as opposed to his previous affirmations, that when he was Archbishop of Munich (1977-1982) he did attend a meeting of the Ordinariate held on January 15, 1980.

According to the note, this error “was not committed with a bad intention, but was the consequence of a neglect in the writing of his opinion.” The explanation about how this happened he “will clarify in the Report he will present later. He very much lamented this error and apologizes.”

Nevertheless, the press release states that the affirmation remains objectively correct, as the documentation verifies, according to which in the course of this meeting no decision was taken in relation to a pastoral charge for the priest in question. On the contrary, only the request was accepted to give him lodging in Munich during the period of his therapeutic treatment.”

Ratzinger, who while he directed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and during his pontificate fought against the abuses in the heart of the Church, for example, laicizing almost 400 pedophile priests, will pronounce himself on the Report.

According to the same source, Benedict intends to read, as soon as possible, the 1,893 pages of the Report and he asks for understanding, “in view of his age and his health, but also because of the breadth of the Document, which will take him time to examine it in its totality.

The Pope Emeritus also admitted that what he has been able to read up to now generates in him “shame and grief given the suffering of the victims.” Finally, he said that he is “very close to his former Archdiocese of origin and its commitment to clarification.” His thoughts go especially to the victims, “who have had to endure sexual abuses and indifference.”

Unjustified Attack

 In an exclusive interview with Exaudi, Dr. Michael Hesemann, an expert on the German Church and academic, after reading the full Report, talks about the recent attacks against Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and says they are unjustified.

“The media buzz focused on Pope Benedict XVI, although it’s not at all the main subject of the Report. The Report treats the cases of sexual abuse of minors from 1945 to 2019, during 74 years, not the five years of Archbishop Ratzinger. It addresses 65 cases, only four of them related to Ratzinger. If those cases are studied, Ratzinger is no more than a secondary figure, someone who didn’t have an important role at all in what happened, but everyone concentrates on him.”

“There were no victims, there were no cases of sexual harassment during his mandate as Archbishop of Munich and Freising, not even one. Only in two cases, the issue is if he was informed ahead of time on the past of two priests of foreign dioceses, one also in another country. He says he didn’t know the details in question and there is no proof that he did so. The in dubio pro reo is a universal principle and a Pope is not exempt from it,” clarified Hesemann.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester